Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Duval, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 12
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition characterized as impairments in fear modulation (e.g., extinction recall and fear renewal). There is a high comorbidity between PTSD and fibromyalgia (FM), a condition that results in chronic pain and memory issues. By better understanding the differences in fear modulation and hippocampal function, treatments that target the underlying mechanisms may be more effective. This study seeks to understand the differences between fear modulation in participants with PTSD, FM, trauma controls, and healthy controls using skin conductance response (SCR) to measure their reactivity to stimuli. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition characterized as impairments in fear modulation (e.g., extinction recall and fear renewal). In addition, studies have shown that fibromyalgia (FM), a condition that results in chronic pain, is also comorbid with PTSD and has similar traits. This study seeks to understand the differences between fear modulation in participants with PTSD, FM, and healthy controls using skin conductance response (SCR). Participants were recruited and underwent two days of experiments. On the first day of experiments, participants underwent fear/extinction learning through associating a conditioned stimulus (e.g., blue light) and unconditioned stimulus (i.e., electrical current) to two separate contexts (e.g., learning that blue light in the office induces an electrical shock but it does not when it is on the bookshelf). On the second day, participants’ skin conductance response data was measured to assess their reactivity during extinction recall and fear renewal tasks, wherein the same images from Day 1 were presented without an electrical shock. The study has not yet reached the anticipated sample size, but we hypothesize that there will be a significantly greater skin conductance response in participants with PTSD and FM compared to healthy controls during the extinction recall and fear renewal which indicate their deficits in retaining the information from fear/extinction learning on Day 1. These results would clarify the mechanisms of fear modulation deficits involved in PTSD symptoms and FM, and create a new target for alternative treatments.
Authors: Karan Kamath, Elizabeth Duval, Hanjoo Kim
Research Method: Clinical Research